7 Things You Didn't Know About The Hymen

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A woman lays on a bed.
Get the facts about a widely misunderstood part of the female anatomy, the hymen.

4. Those "bloody sheets" are not because the hymen is tearing, either. Most young partners are not experienced love-makers. Those first times are usually less skilled and sensual, and more trial and error. Hurried, poorly-lubricated or rough sex can cause sensitive vaginal tissue to bleed, but not hymenal tissue to break. The Smoking-Hot Reason To Avoid First-Date Sex

5. The intact hymenal membrane does not cover the whole vaginal opening. If it did, girls who still had bits of the hymen left at puberty would not be able to menstruate.

6. About one in 200 women have an imperforate hymen. That means around 0.5% of hymens don't wear away normally and have openings too small for tampons or erections to comfortably enter the vagina. These days, in those cases, a fairly simple surgery is required to snip away some of the membrane. Hooray for modern medicine, right?

7. Throughout time, people have gone to great lengths to find proof that the hymen was indeed broken after marriage. In old cultures, newlyweds were expected to hand over bloody sheets after the wedding night to 1. confirm that the hymen had ripped, 2. make sure the woman was a virgin and 3. check that the two had consummated the union. A little nosy, don't you think? Many brides didn't even risk it, they would simply cut the inside of their thighs with a sharp fingernail to soil the sheets—just in case.

All that fuss for centuries over a totally wrong idea?! Sigh. We're glad the myth has finally been put to rest.
 

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